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Sometimes in an emergency the only option is to remove your BC. This is a skill that is taught to all our open water students, but sadly is not practiced very much after there initial class. Guess this is a good indication why that might be a good skill to review.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family for their loss.
Something that a LOT of people, even those who HAVE manual inflators, forget about in a panic situation - I know before this thread I hadn't much thought about it - sort of makes me want to paint my manual inflator mouthpiece neon orange.